This is true freedom!

July 2, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
(John 8:36 (NIV))

We are all familiar with this passage, but there is something that we probably need to clarify. Let’s start by asking one simple question.

What is your definition of freedom?

I told you it was a simple question. However, the answer is probably not so simple.

Do you go along with the definition that the world is trying to push on us at this point? According to this definition, freedom implies doing whatever you want, whenever you want, with whomever you want, regardless of what gets destroyed or who gets hurt. The old saying, “If it feels good, do it,” has nothing on this mindset. In fact, it pales in comparison to what is called freedom today. If you look up the word, freedom implies a liberation, being exempt from rules, and unrestricted. When theses concepts are taken with respect for others, you have balance and society. When you take these concepts to the extremes that we are seeing, you have debauchery, anarchy and riots. This type of freedom is self-centered, sinful and evil.

Is this your definition of freedom?

If you are reading this, I can safely assume that I know what your answer is.

Godly freedom is what we so desperately need. This freedom rescues us. It saves us from ourselves. It breaks the chains that bind us to our sinful nature.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Do you understand why things are as they are in the world? They have been led astray by the enemy and have been taught to hate the light. In fact, they call good evil and evil good. Their minds have been polluted and controlled. The so-called freedom that they are expressing will only lead to one outcome according to the first part of Romans 6:23.

But, God…

Finishing reading the rest of Romans 6:23.

This is true freedom! This is true liberation! We are no longer bound to or by our sinful nature. We no longer must face death. We can spend eternity with the Lord!

This is true freedom!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you recognized?

September 26, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:20 (NIV))

Do you get apples from a pear tree? Do you get pecans from a peach tree? Do you . . .

I realize that these sound like very silly questions for anyone older than three or four years old, but it is the same concept when we look at the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Do you see love in a hateful person? Do you see kindness in a selfish person? Do you see joy in an angry person? I realize that it is possible for a hateful person to show a small amount of love, but not enough to overshadow the hate that fills them. It is possible for a selfish person to show an occasional kindness, but it is not an ever present characteristic in their lives. And just as you don’t see anything that resembles true joy in an angry person, you don’t see true anger in a joyful person. All of these are contradictions to each other. It is possible to even say that these sample pairings are the extremes of the same characteristics. At one end you have love and the other end you have hate.

As members of the Body of Christ, we are called to bear good fruit. Do you?

How do you see yourself? How do you think others see you? How does the Lord see you? Do you show love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Do your actions reflect the light of Jesus or do they embrace the sins of this world?

If you were to be judged by your fruit, which end of the extremes would you be on? Would you be found to bear good fruit? Would you be neither good nor bad, hot nor cold? We know what Jesus thinks of those who are neither hot nor cold.

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

How are you recognized?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can your requests be considered a test?

January 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
(Luke 4:12 (NIV))

How many of us can honestly say that they have never done this?

It is human nature to try and get the upper hand in all things that we do. We like to come out on top. We like to be number one. We like to get the most out of what we do, or at least to get more than the people that we know.

How many of you, when presented with some fantastic news about someone else’s achievements, secretly think that it should have been you?

If we are not careful, we take this to extremes. To be honest with you, even a little is a sin. We covet what someone else has. Now, imagine if that someone else is God.

Yes, we even try to get the upper hand in our dealings with God. We will beg and plead. We will negotiate. We will do whatever we think that we can if it will mean that we come out on top. We will even go so far as to say something like this, “God, if You will only do this, I will serve you. I will devote my whole life to You.”

Sadly, this type of thing happens more often than we care to admit. I honestly believe that most, if not all, of us have tried to make this type of bargain with God.

If this isn’t testing God, then I don’t know what is. We base our faith on what God will do for us first. We base our faith on what we think that God is good for. We overlook the all important and obvious gift that He already willingly shares with all who will simply accept that gift.

I often wonder how God reacts to our feeble attempts to negotiate with Him. Does He roll His eyes? Does He shed a tear for our ignorance? Does He think that we are fools for asking for something that is trivial, when He has already given us the possibility of eternity with Him?

Think about how you approach God. Can your requests be considered a test?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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More birth pains and they are closer together!

November 16, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

With recent events, I found myself returning to the following which was originally sent out on March 24, 2008. Stand firm in your faith! Do not be deceived!

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Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

Birth pains!

Every day we read about still one more thing that could very easily be birth pains. There are wars and rumors of wars in many places. Terrorism is a war that is being fought on many fronts. Kingdoms are in constant struggle with one another. When these words were written, a nation referred to an ethnic people group such as the Israelites, the Hittites, and Assyrians. Today, it seems that ethnic struggles are increasing. Millions of people have been killed in Africa because they do not belong to the correct ethnic group. Israel is under constant threat because, in the eyes of the many Muslims, they are the wrong ethnic group.

Earthquakes are increasing. Everything seems to be going to the very extremes. One part of the world suffers a very severe draught while their neighbors suffer from very severe floods. One day we have winter. The very next is very warm. The next day we have rain. The next day we have very severe storms and tornadoes.

Man’s economies are getting further and further into trouble. According to the media, many people are losing their homes. To make matters worse, I saw a major headline today that said food prices are skyrocketing worldwide. Could we be far away from being able to buy a bag of gold with a piece of bread?

It is very easy to get depressed when you consider all that is going on in the world, but, don’t let the events of this world make you lose sight of your greatest hope. That hope is Jesus.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

When the events of this world have you looking down, look up! Our hope is built upon the Son of God who sits at the right hand of God the Father. We have nothing to fear. All around us may fall apart, but we have a hope. We have a peace that passes all understanding. No matter what the world sends our way, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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